Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Getting a Global Perspective – The Power of Collaborative Projects by Dyane Smokorowski

These are my notes from “Getting a Global Perspective – The Power of Collaborative Projects” by Dyane Smokorowski at the PodStock09 conference in Wichita, Kansas. Her wiki with links for this session is on: MY THOUGHTS ARE IN ALL CAPS. THIS IS VERY SIMILAR STRUCTURE WISE TO DR JUDY HARRIS’ TELECOMPUTING PROJECTS FRAMEWORK WHICH I HEARD ABOUT IN THE LATE 1990S FOR THE FIRST TIME. IT’S AMAZING TO SEE HOW THESE PROJECTS ARE WORKING AND BEING IMPLEMENTED NOW WITH ALL THE WEB 2.0 TOOLS WE HAVE AVAILABLE!

Here are all Dyane’s links on telecollaboration projects:

Dyane’s slideshare from today:

Most important thing: it needs to have a real world connection
– we use technology (should) because we can’t do it otherwise
– I believe if you want to make a connection

7 kinds of classrooms

intercultural exchange

data collection projects
– great place to start
– not as overwhelming
– the collection of data is not the higher level thinking part: it is what you DO with the data!
– the global grocery project is one that has been around a long time, now a web search can get that

Tooth Tally Project (meant for 1st grader)
– kids tally tooth lost during the year
– great because there is not too much for the classroom teachers to manage individually

herebirdy project
– kindergarden project, data collection
– kids are learning to read graphs, how things are changing over the seasons
– teachers moving data over to the wiki each day, so the data was live
– teamed up with the Great Plains Nature Center here in Wichita (The Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education) has lots of data collection projects

Now: Intercultural exchange
– Cultural Exchange Box is one of the most popular
– started by a teacher in Israel
– Friends and Flags is similar but on a hiatus

Digital photography is the key for intercultural exchange projects
– audio projects and tools: Skype, VoiceThread

be careful with seeds: Australia doesn’t allow any seeds to be sent (including sunflower seeds)

Another example type: Travel Buddy Projects
– originated in Australia
– created to increase
– find travel buddies (stuffed animals)
– Community Helpers Around the World was our project, we got a grant to support this
— 4 different elementary schools involved
— had an elephant, tiger, others
— buddies were to travel, we had 32 classrooms around the world on 6 different continents

Lots of travel buddies on trampolines all over the world!

Only requirements we had were: take the buddies and do the journaling
– with these guidelines, the magic happened
– example of a travel buddy learning Maori dancing with students in New Zealand
– another met a movie star in the Czech Republic!

Also did “There’s No Place Like Home” projects with travel buddies
– took the Wizard of Oz theme
– what is great about YOUR state?
– we’ve all had death by PPT experiences with state projects
– this was a year long project involving all 4th grade students, with 32 other American classrooms, to discover what makes each American region unique
– same requirements: take photos, send some of this data
– most requested buddy was “wicked witch” – she went to see “Wicked” in New York on Broadway, went to a Hannah Montana concert, in Arizona was compared to the witch character they have in their Native American culture
– Toto went to Disneyland (I am a former Disney cast member)
– Tinman met the governor of Vermont

What do you do while the buddy is away?
– it is meant for discussion
– originally we just used email
– now we have skype, documents on wikis, animoto to make slideshows of the week
– now using Etherpad for synchronous projects

Now Interpersonal Project Examples
– you are an expert, I’m an expert, and we exchange info
– we did “Being Green” project with an Australian school, focus was “is our planet getting warmer,” can we get our communities thinking about living more green
– kids were struggling just like scientists on whether global warming is happening
– everyone agrees

Other interpersonal project examples
– Movie in the Making
– Prince Caspian Project
— become a collaborative project for teachers, sharing resource for teachers on lesson materials for those teaching about the novel

Next example type: Student Publishing Projects
– involve student creativity
– students publishing their own poetry, art, video, writing, etc
– Four Lines of Sight project for 2nd grade, 80 classrooms around the world joined us for this:

This global 2nd grade project had a simple question. If I gave each student the exact same 4 lines on a sheet of paper, what would they create? The students could rotate the lines in any direction and use any art medium to elaborate on the lines. Over 300 2nd grade students participated and added their work to our virtual art gallery.

You could see similarities between students in the same classroom, but many of the projects blew you away with their creativity
– our webserver was so full with images on the district but they made me take it down
– we chose images so language would not be a barrier for the students

Cyberdictionary has been around since 1997 (Fairy Tale / Folk Tale CyberDictionary)

Monster Exchange Projectit is:

Monster Exchange is designed to encourage the development of reading and writing skills while integrating Internet technology into the classroom curriculum. Classrooms from a variety of schools worldwide are paired together; the students in each classroom are split into groups, each of which designs an original picture of a monster. The students must then write a description of the monster. The partnered classes then exchange their descriptions via e-mail and the Internet. These students are then challenged to use reading comprehension skills to read the descriptions and translate them into a monster picture. The true challenge involves creating a redrawn picture as close to the original picture as possible without looking at the original and using only the written description of the monster.

SchoolTube has great opportunities for students to be collaborative, lots of GREAT content there now
– examples of projects by students who may not feel they are very strong in writing, in math, and other things, but they are able to use multimedia to teach concepts to other students
SchoolTube contests!

Project I am planning to launch next year: The Adventures of Paperclip!

Are you ready to jump in and try one of these?
– if you are designing one of these, what do you need to think about?
– do your kids already study different cultures or geographic locations?
– would kids benefit from collecting data and sharing it with another class?
– are there any issues such as the environment or animal protection your students would be passionate about?
– do you have any museums, zoos, or other resources nearby that could partner with you?
– would they be interested in discussing a book or selecting the Caldecott winner with other classes?

Disney involved in helping kids learn about PSA writing (Public Service Annoucements)
– going on the Disney Radio Channel
– kids had to get excited about this!

you need to create a plan
– project milestone
– set up a project calendar: deadlines, beginnings and endings, etc
– more…

Step 3: find your partners
– places on Ning now have project collaboration
– Use Global SchoolNet listserv, generally has a good response
– use Twitter and Plurk
– reach out to your PLN!
– International Travel Buddy List Serve

Step 4: get resources

Step 5: Jump in and Watch the Magic Unfold
– remember chocolate always tastes good!
– had “Violet Crumble” from Australia, it is a Nestle product not sold in the US, amazing!
– kids become emotionally connected to what they are doing: they will research more, they will love it, and they will remember it

Dyane’s blog:

Kids who go on trips with their families on a vacation: they have to take their travel buddy, take photos, and blog about it!
– see the guest blog post, “Travel Buddy Projects Part II” for more on this approach

My only barrier is my imagination getting out of hand!

only budget issues come in with travel buddy projects
– we do have some teachers in the world who are not tech saavy: we’ve had some who didn’t know how to do email attachments, others are really impressing us!
– give all the resources on your website, including the parent letters
– sometimes finding partners is a challenge

Getting started: Global Schoolnet registery of existing projects is great
– contacting local museums is good
– can also trade 1 elementary school to another within the district
– get a hold of tech nerdy people, may have an approved blog or wiki
– if you have all your ducks in a row, generally when you bring curriculum that is ready, tech people will work with you

Empowered Desktop this year is changing, will be adding wikis
– this is a Kansas-only web resources
– other teachers in other states can’t use that tho

During school Dyane worked at Toontown at Disneyworld as a 1 semester internship, it was a GREAT experience, very intercultural / international
– inspired a project “Is it a Small World After All?” project that Dyane started
– had students from Arab and Western countries in Ning, all dialoging

May the Force Be With You!

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